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Nitrate-Rich Beetroot Juice May Help Increase Beneficial Oral Bacteria

Studies suggest that production of nitric oxide is reduced with aging and that insufficient nitric oxide production is associated with many major cardiovascular risk factors. A new study has found that consuming nitrate-rich beetroot juice may help increase the abundance of beneficial oral bacteria and decrease the abundance of potentially harmful bacteria.

Twenty-six healthy adults with an average age of 75 participated in the study. Half consumed beetroot juice containing 750 mg of nitrates and the other half consumed a nitrate-free placebo juice twice a day for 10 days. The researchers compared the oral microbiomes of the two groups throughout the study. In addition, the participants underwent physiological, cognitive, muscle and brain metabolism assessments.

Participants in the beetroot juice group saw increases in the abundance of 10 species of beneficial bacteria, 2 of which are associated with cardiovascular and cognitive health. They also saw decreases in the abundance of 14 species of potentially harmful bacteria, 1 of which has been associated with pro-inflammatory metabolism. In addition, participants in the beetroot juice group saw improvements in sustained attention and information processing speed.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Exeter. It was published online ahead of print on March 27, 2021 in the journal Redox Biology.

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